November 21, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health and Quality of Care NL join organizations around the world this week to increase awareness and action to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, November 18 to 24, 2022.
“Eastern Health is committed to increasing understanding of the risks associated with antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance in health care, and an important part of that is raising awareness about appropriate antibiotic use,” said Debbie Walsh, vice president for clinical services at Eastern Health. “Unnecessary use and misuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials, such as antivirals and antifungals, is increasing the serious problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Canada and around the world.”
Antibiotics and other antimicrobials have saved millions of lives since their discovery; but are gradually becoming less effective as bacteria and other microbes develop drug resistance. To help address AMR, since 2014, Eastern Health has led an Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee tasked with advocacy, education, and fostering responsible drug utilization.
“Resistant microbes make infections much harder or impossible to treat, and as few new antibiotics are being developed, it is very important to maintain the effectiveness of existing antibiotics through responsible antibiotic use, and infection prevention and control practices,” said Dr. Peter Daley, infectious diseases physician at Eastern Health and co-chair of the NL Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee. “There are many benefits to antimicrobial stewardship – such as improved patient outcomes, reduced adverse events like Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), and better use of drugs and resources.”
“Newfoundland and Labrador consistently prescribes more antibiotics per capita than other provinces in Canada,” said Dr. Brendan Barrett, clinical lead of Quality of Care NL. “Quality of Care NL has worked for the last number of years to promote antimicrobial stewardship by sharing best practices and guidelines, a public awareness campaign about the potential harms of overuse, and by providing clinicians with their personal prescribing patterns.”
Activities to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week include:
- November 21-25: public awareness social media campaign
- November 22, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. NST, webinar ‘The World is Running Out of Antibiotics’: Members of the public and health providers are invited to attend a special public awareness webinar where Eastern Health and Quality of Care NL will share research about the use of antibiotics in Newfoundland and Labrador and ways to help decrease antibiotic resistance. Those interested in attending are asked to pre-register at http://bit.ly/3GgbR8X.
- November 24: Eastern Health buildings will be illuminated in light blue on Thursday, November 24. ‘By Going Blue’, Eastern Health and Quality of Care NL conclude World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and join the international colour campaign supported in Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) and its partners across the country to help spread awareness about this public health threat.
For more information about antimicrobial use, including resources to help increase knowledge and awareness among the public and health providers, please visit Eastern Health’s Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) webpage (at: https://www.easternhealth.ca/find-health-care/patient-education/amr/).
About Eastern Health
Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees, over 700 medical staff, and is supported by hundreds of volunteers, including members of numerous auxiliaries and fundraising foundations. With an annual budget of approximately $1.7 billion, the authority offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long-term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Serving a population of over 300,000, Eastern Health’s geographic boundaries extend west from St. John’s to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.
About Quality of Care NL
Quality of Care NL works to improve the quality of care patients receive in our province by facilitating change to ensure that the right treatment, gets to the right patient, at the right time. Quality of Care NL is proud to partner with Choosing Wisely Canada to enable the promotion of established national guidelines and recommendations that cross all disciplines to support the reduction of low-value health care, including unnecessary tests and treatments, particularly where harms outweigh benefits. Learn more at www.qualityofcarenl.ca.